EVAN PARKER – SET

Psi

Serial Endosymbiosis Theory is a concept developed by biologist Lynn Margulis, to whom Evan Parker – a former student of biology – dedicates the album. To symbolize, or at least remind the processes of evolution “in terms of symbiotic associations of non-cellular organisms” that define SET, the saxophonist assembled an improvisational entity comprising musicians who have, in diverse occasions, accompanied the progress of his career. The names speak for themselves: Barry Guy, Paul Lytton, Richard Barrett and Paul Obermayer (aka FURT), Lawrence Casserley, Walter Prati and Marco Vecchi. An impressive line-up that generates the expected results.

Consisting of an extensive live improvisation bordered by two shorter studio takes, the music comes across as a formidable junction of electroacoustic instances, heavily influenced by the modification of the instrumental reality via added strata of digitally altered/sampled sonorities that may fight or marry the essence of the actual sources. The wide-ranging dynamic palette naturally born from the process is in turn informed by severe fragmentariness, amorphous timbres and restless turmoil that belie the absolute lucidity of the players. An emblematic example is Guy’s spectacular act starting from around the 13th minute of the second part, a unbridled affirmation of vigour progressively engulfed by an engrossing magmatic mire. Parker joins the course of action a few minutes later, at first by merely dipping the toe, subsequently emitting incensed invectives underlined by Lytton’s hurried pace, ultimately remaining alone before being joined by malformed replicas of his own self.

Observing the extremely short times of reaction informing the call-and-response temperament of the interplay is galvanizing. Even the “hyperactive calmness” that follows and precedes the most chaotic segments contains the germs of a randomized organization that might result noxious for conventional improvisers. Overall, this is an inspiring record that should not be overlooked, a remarkable configuration of primary impulses and consequent materializations realized by a committed nucleus of bright artists.

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